Why are prairie dogs still banned?

Government bans prairie dog sales, calls for smallpox vaccine to control monkey pox – DANIEL YEE, Associated Press Writer -Wednesday, June 11, 2003

“The U.S. government banned the sale of prairie dogs, prohibited the importation of African rodents and recommended smallpox shots Wednesday for people exposed to monkey pox, the exotic African disease that has spread from pet prairie dogs to humans.”

In 2003 the first confirmed case of locally acquired Monkey Pox occurred in the United States. In our terror fueled media mad nation, this demanded swift and decisive action. After all, this was a ‘pox’, and the media was pumping the idea of terrorist driven small pox attacks against the United States. If the government had not reacted to this perceived threat, say like the way the government failed to react to a hurricane that was on the radar for days, people would get upset.

According to a CDC investigation, the source of the infection was an ill Gambian Rat obtained at a pet ‘swap meet’. From there it was passed to prairie dogs purchased at the same time. Several of the prairie dogs were sold and passed on the infection before they succumbed to the disease and died.

Monkey Pox is not native to North or South America. The prairie dogs could not have contracted Monkey Pox were it not for their contact with the Gambian Rat. That prairie dogs became the crossover point for human infection was a coincidence, and not a result of their being more susceptible than other animals. That same CDC report states: “Animal species susceptible to monkey pox virus may include non-human primates, lagomorphs (rabbits), and some rodents.”

Logically, banning prairie dogs because they became infected in this outbreak makes a much sense as banning children because they became infected as well. Had that pet distributor purchased rabbits that day, or guinea pigs, or hamsters, I doubt the CDC would have chosen a full ban of the infected animals. It is a shame that swift and decisive action was required, and that prairie dogs are not as firmly entrenched in American childhood as guinea pigs and hamsters. Can you imagine the reaction if hamsters had been banned?

Despite the knowledge that prairie dogs were not the source of the outbreak, despite the lack of any further outbreaks, the ban is still in effect. The ban restricts the transportation, not just the sale; and I wonder if the ban played a part in the incident where Habitat for Humanity gassed an entire prairie dog town because it could not be relocated in what they considered a reasonable amount of time?

It is now over two years later. While the sale of prairie dogs was banned, the owning of them was not. I know several people who had purchased, or rescued, prairie dogs prior to the ban. Prairie dogs continue to make great pets for those that own and love them.

The source of the monkey pox outbreak was a rodent imported from Africa. As long as the sources for those animals are controlled it seems unnecessary to completely ban our own North America native prairie dogs.

Online Dating Sites Accused of Deception? Say it isn’t so!

Online Dating Sites Accused of Deception

The first paragraph of the above article is a no brainer: “After looking for love on the Internet and failing to find it, frustrated lonely hearts are heading to court, accusing online dating sites of engaging in deceptive practices.”

I’ve browsed a few personal sites and common sense tells me that a woman who looks like a porn star, shaves like one too, and isn’t afraid to talk about her favorite positions in her profile, probably doesn’t have a difficult time keeping her social calendar full. So why do profiles like that seem to out-number believable ones by 10-to-1?

I had a friend who used to work at an ‘online dating and community’ website. Part of his job was to maintain 20+ ‘profiles’, though he tended to think of them as ‘roles’ in the same way an actor thinks about a part. They had sophisticated software that made it possible to send personalized emails and replies to hundreds of real people at a time. This company spent developer hours building tools that allowed one employee to take on the ‘roles’ of dozens of company managed accounts. That sounds like an intent to deceive to me.

Sure, the website says “for entertainment purposes only”, but a small disclaimer doesn’t excuse a business model based around lying to your customers. Oddly enough, the company my friend worked at wasn’t listed in the suit. Perhaps the sites that specialize in ‘hook ups’ instead of dates will be immune from suit until someone desperate enough is willing to admit they frequent that type of site? Who will be the sad monkey hungry enough for their 15 minutes of fame that they will admit in court they had an account on AdultFriendFinder or Bullz-Eye or sexsearch.com?

So, I know that there are sites that use shill accounts to keep their members interested enough to keep their subscriptions active. The funny thing is, I don’t think that is what happened to Matthew Evans; and I think that when he has his day in court it will be filled with pitying looks directed at him.

Matthew Evans claims that he went on a date with a woman, and when the date was running flat she ‘confessed’ that she was a match.com employee and that this was a ‘bait date’. (This is not from the article linked above, but from other news stories. Google “Matthew Evans match.com” if you want to see all the variations of this story.) When Matthew files a lawsuit, and the depositions start getting taken, the woman states that she does not work for match.com. Has Matthew considered, even for a moment, that the woman was lying to him to get out of an unpleasant date? If she really worked for the company it would be her job to stay within her ‘role’. I could see the possibility of confessing if she was head over heels in love with the guy, and wanted a relationship unburdened with lies; but why spill the beans if all she has to do to get a paycheck is finish the date and go home? To me, it sounds more like an escape line that has backfired in a really big way.

I remember an episode of NewsRadio where Jimmy James runs for president just so he can get his face on national television with a lonely heart plea and an 800 number to call for a date with him. Somehow I don’t think Matthew Evans is going to get the same positive response as a result of his moment in the news spotlight.


LiveJournal/SixApart sucks ass again

A while back I had a little rant about copyright and why it bothered me that the LiveJournal website was copying my blog entries entirely for the tampa_gypsy feed acount. It pissed me off to no end that the folks at LJ would not remove the feed account as I requested, and instead pointed me to their FAQ on how to disable their feed grabber via .htaccess file on my site.

Needless to say, I did that, and their feed puller was getting 403 access denied errors when it hit my site. – – [18/Nov/2005:22:14:14 -0800] “GET /~blog/wp-rss2.php HTTP/1.1” 403 335 “-” “LiveJournal.com (webmaster@livejournal.com; for http://www.livejournal.com/users/tampagypsy_feed/; 16 readers)”

On the 19th of November the folks at LiveJournal/SixApart pulled a big ‘fuck you’ on everyone who had followed the instructions in their FAQ. They changed the IP address used by their feed puller, bypassing the DENY command that had previously blocked their crawler. – – [19/Nov/2005:19:42:34 -0800] “GET /~blog/wp-rss2.php HTTP/1.1” 302 342 “-” “LiveJournal.com (webmaster@livejournal.com; for http://www.livejournal.com/users/tampagypsy_feed/; 16 readers)”

Without notice, my blog entries were showing up in the tampagypsy_feed account against my expressly written wishes.

I am sure that some of the geeks reading this might want to make the argument that they probably changed their IP address as part of their server move into 365 Main, and couldn’t help that they had to change IP addresses. I can understand having to change IP addresses. I’ve had to do it lots of times. But, if they had anyone who even closely resembled a responsible systems manager they would have considered how to avoid pulling feeds from people who had actively made changes to their system indicating a desire to be excluded. I would have checked the logs (they are smart enough to log, one would hope) and see what feed accounts regularly resulted in 403 errors, since 403 errors would be the result of following the LJ exclusion instructions. I would then delete all the feeds that appeared to want to be excluded. I would change the IP addresses, and/or move the servers. Then I would update the FAQ to have the new IP address.

The monkeys at LJ did update the FAQ, but they did nothing to safeguard the desires of people who had previously excluded their old feed crawler IP address. What the hell do they expect, that I will read their FAQs on a regular basis just to make sure they are honoring my desire to not be scanned? That is complete bullshit.

Once again, the monkeys at LiveJournal/SixApart have shown a great disregard for the desires of bloggers on the internet. Why am I not suprised?


ps. I’m going to wait until after LJ scans my feed, and loads this into their DB, to block them again. It’s only fitting…

I use Amazon affiliate links in some of my posts. I think it is fair to say my writing is not influenced by the $0.40 I earned in 2022.